Elizabeth's Reviews > White Stag

White Stag by Kara Barbieri
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2019-releases, winter-2019, fantasy, series, young-adult, wow, politics-fantasy

"Are you dead?
Little girl
Have they ravaged your skin?
Are you dead
little girl
Have the demons come in?
Are you dead?
Little girl
Like a lamb in the field?
Little girl
Oh little girla
Your soul won't be healed?"


I was so surprised by this book, it totally exceeded my expectations. Also, it kind of set a totally new standard for Goblin fantasy. It was just really, really good.

Quick synopsis - Janneke is the only survivor of her village after it was attacked by Goblins. She was taken as a thrall to a very powerful Goblin, who later gave her as a gift to his nephew, Soren.
Janneke has been in Soren's service for over 100 years. But when the goblin king, the Erlking dies, Soren and the other Goblins must hunt the white stag. Whoever kills the white stag becomes the next Erlking.
Humans don't normally join the Hunt. But Soren insists that Janneke should join the hunt.


I am going to try VERY hard to not talk about this book with spoilers. It's going to be difficult.

Janneke is one of the best YA fantasy heroines I've read in a LONG TIME. She's witty, and her internal monologue is on-point. Also, she's a tough fighter, who's not afraid to stab and hunt and kill to protect herself and her friends.

This whole story is a tale about what makes a monster, a monster. Janneke was told all her childhood that goblins were monsters. But after living with monsters for over a 100 years, she knows which ones are monsters, and which ones are really not monstrous.

Also, her relationship with Soren was just SO WELL WRITTEN. I rarely see actual banter between two characters, and their feelings were complicated. I wouldn't call this a hate-to-love romance, because while Janneke hated goblins, she never really hated Soren? I would call this book a slow burn romance, and one of the best I've read recently!

I can't talk too much about the plot without giving away significant spoilers, so let me just say, I was constantly surprised. I hated the villains, and I cheered for Janneke. Still, the fighting, the politics, and the magic, it constantly caught me off guard.

Also, this book is Goblin lore mixed with Norse mythology, and I am HERE for it!


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Reading Progress

November 5, 2018 – Shelved
November 5, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 5, 2018 – Shelved as: 2019-releases
November 5, 2018 – Shelved as: winter-2019
January 7, 2019 – Started Reading
January 7, 2019 –
49.0% "Okay, this book is suprisinly really good? I love the premise and how it's going!"
January 8, 2019 –
100.0% "Wow!"
January 8, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 8, 2019 – Shelved as: series
January 8, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 8, 2019 – Shelved as: wow
January 8, 2019 – Shelved as: politics-fantasy
January 8, 2019 – Finished Reading

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